Nintendo open to dropping consoles if market demands it

Nintendo has been making gaming machines for more than 30 years at this point, and through all of the ups and downs, it's kept on making home consoles. Though the company has no plans to stop producing home consoles, Nintendo's new president has suggested that he's open to the idea if that's what it'll take to adapt to the ever-changing gaming industry. Perhaps there's a future where Nintendo only makes software for other platforms?

It seems crazy to consider the idea when the Switch is experiencing a ridiculous level of success, but plenty of other companies have shown us that all it takes is one or two fumbled console launches – or worse, a gaming crash – to bring the titans of the industry tumbling down. If Nintendo ever finds itself in that position, company president Shuntaro Furukawa has indicated that he's okay with moving away from consoles in an effort to rethink its business strategy.

Furukawa spoke of the need for Nintendo to be flexible in a new interview with Nikkei, which was translated by Nintendo Everything. "We aren't really fixated on our consoles," Furukawa said. "At the moment we're offering the uniquely developed Nintendo Switch and its software – and that's what we're basing how we deliver the "Nintendo experience" on. That being said, technology changes. We'll continue to think flexibly about how to deliver that experience as time goes on."

"It has been over 30 years since we started developing consoles," he continued. "Nintendo's history goes back even farther than that, and through all the struggles that they faced the only thing that they thought about was what to make next. In the long-term, perhaps our focus as a business could shift away from home consoles – flexibility is just as important as ingenuity."

Obviously, this isn't an indication that Nintendo is leaving the console business anytime soon. The Switch had a successful launch in 2017, and that's been followed by strong sales. Nintendo won't be quick to abandon that success, and the disappointment that was the Wii U showed us that Nintendo has enough money in its war chest to survive a flubbed console launch.

It sounds like Nintendo will continue making consoles as long as the demand is there, but if the market ever shifts away from consoles, it won't try to cling to the past. Indeed, though Microsoft and Sony show no signs of ditching consoles either, they are both developing game streaming platforms such as PlayStation Now and Project xCloud.

If there's ever a future where device-agnostic game streaming takes over, we could very well see Nintendo choose to exit the console business and create games for these streaming platforms. Perhaps it'll even look into creating a game streaming platform of its own? This is all just speculation, but it's nice to hear that Nintendo is willing to do what it takes to stay relevant if the market ever shifts away from its core business.